Current Staff & Students

Southeastern Center of Robotics Education

Office Staff

Jennifer Spencer

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Jennifer Spencer is the Assistant Director of SCORE. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and a Master of Science in Elementary Education, both from Auburn University. Jennifer has 20 years of teaching experience in public and private schools in Alabama where she also coached after-school robotics clubs. After leading one of the first SCORE-sponsored teams to the state championship in 2018, she joined our team to help build robotics in schools throughout the southeast. She is the self-proclaimed mom of the group and loves her family and all Auburn sports.

Mary Lou Ewald

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Mary Lou has been Director of Outreach for the College of Sciences and Mathematics (COSAM) since May 2000. Prior to this position, she worked with the Alabama Science in Motion program as the Associate Project Director and physics field specialist. She received a B.S. in Applied Physics and an M.S. in Zoology, both from Auburn University. Mary Lou has served as the Hub Director for Alabama BEST for 16 years, and the South’s BEST Regional Championship for 14 years. She also served on the Board of Directors for the national BEST (Boosting Engineering, science and Technology) Robotics, Inc. program for six years and was the chair of the BEST national awards and judging committee for eight years. She was conference chair of the two national BEST conferences hosted at Auburn University in 2009 and 2011, and was named the BEST national volunteer of the year in 2010. In 2010, Mary Lou was selected as one of 25 STEM educators nationwide to draft standards and criteria for using robotics-based curricula to teach science, a National Science Foundation funded initiative of the Technology Student Association, based in Washington, DC. She is passionate about robotics education as a mechanism to excite kids and inspire them to consider a future career in a STEM field.

Matt Buckley

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Matthew Buckley is the Program Administrator of SCORE. He earned his Bachelor's degree in English from Towson University, and a Master's degree in Secondary Education from The Catholic University of America. He has 16 years of teaching experience in English, Photography, and STEM. In 2014, he began working in Educational Technology and began the CITE lab Makerspace (Creativity, Innovation, Technology, Education) at his former school. He's a Raspberry Pi Certified Educator, and enjoys coding, digital making, and woodworking.

Student Employees

Joseph Ammons

Joseph is a graduate assistant at SCORE. Joseph is studying Master's of Engineering at Auburn University. In his free time, he builds and flies drones and works on his 3D printer.


DJ Smith

DJ is a Senior at Auburn University where she is studying Industrial Engineering. DJ is the founder of the Robotics Outreach Student Organization and a member of the Auburn’s VEX U Robotics Team. DJ’s dream job upon graduation is working as a roller coaster engineer. DJ enjoys watching scary movies in her free time and hanging out with friends. 


Thomas Bowman

Thomas is a Junior studying Computer Science at Auburn University. He is currently the President of Auburn Robotics Club and a member of the VEX-U Robotics team. 




Faculty Sponsors

Dr. Allen Landers

Dr. Allen L. Landers holds the Howard Earl and Carolyn Taylor Carr Professorship in the Department of Physics at Auburn University. He is an active researcher and has been featured in the Journal of Physics, Physical Review, Science, and Nature. Dr. Landers teaches at all levels in the Physics Department, ranging from introductory science classes to advanced graduate courses. In addition, he works with interdisciplinary teams of Auburn faculty and staff to pursue science outreach, principally developing new opportunities for K-12 students to experience the scientific process. Dr. Landers has been awarded the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Teaching and the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Outreach in the College of Sciences and Mathematics, and was recognized with the Auburn University Award for Excellence in Outreach.

Dr. Thad Roppel

Dr. Roppel joined the faculty of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Auburn University in 1986. He has conducted research in the fields of sensor fabrication, sensor fusion, neural networks, search and rescue robotics, and mobile robot design for applications in retail spaces and schools. His work has been supported by NASA, the Office of Naval Research, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Army Research Office, and various corporate and foundation sponsors. He has supervised and graduated more than 40 students at the Masters and PhD level, and has earned multiple awards for undergraduate teaching and mentoring in the College of Engineering. He is a member of the IEEE and the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). He is the faculty advisor for the SPaRC, the Student Projects and Research Committee, a student-run organization that functions as Auburn University’s Makerspace and he has a passion for using robots for engineering outreach in local communities.